UFC heavyweight title contender Derrick Lewis has so far been able to uphold an image of a happy-go-lucky fighter who isn’t taking his career too seriously. “The Black Beast” himself stated that he allots a mere 30 minutes for training, while he spends the rest of his time in the gym posting on his fan-beloved Instagram page.
Daniel Cormier, however, refuses to give in to what he believes is a “façade” that his challenger his putting up.
“I believe he trains a lot harder than [he says],” Cormier said at the UFC 230 open workout scrum on Wednesday (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I believe he’s not really as hurt as he pretends to be when he’s against the side of the Octagon.
“Derrick is a little smarter than you guys think. But the problem is he’s smart in a way that you learn when you grow up in urban areas. He’s kind of got a little more street smarts. But I grew up in those same places. I can see through his facade.”
“He’s not a dummy. This guy knows what he’s doing,” Cormier added. “He’s trying to trick us all, but don’t think that Derrick Lewis is some ignorant guy.”
Lewis went through tough times in his younger years when he spent three years in prison for aggravated assault charges. For Cormier, this experience plays a big part.
“This is a guy that went to jail as a youth and honestly when you go to prison as a kid, especially a young black kid, a lot of people give up on you,” Cormier said of Lewis. “In that cell, you tell yourself a lot of things. You say, ‘I’m gonna do better when I get out.’ I’m gonna be this and I’m gonna be that. And the vast majority of the guys who do say those things, they never change. They go back and do the same thing. Derrick Lewis didn’t, right? Derrick Lewis became a millionaire.
“Derrick Lewis is fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world. There’s something different about him and that’s why I know what’s in front of me this weekend.
“So let him try and trick you guys. But pay very close attention to who he really is. He’s a smart guy and he ain’t tricking me.”
Cormier and Lewis will headline UFC 230 on Saturday, November 3rd, at Madison Square Garden.